VMware acquisitions

Post last updated on 3rd September 2019

Here is my brief history of recent VMware acquisitions – what they are, how they fit with our overall strategy, what they replaced or super-seeded and what they are now called.

As everything else on this blog, all the views expressed here are mine and not my employer’s.

As we (VMware) have been on a roll of great acquisitions, I thought I would document them and try to keep this page updated.

When I look at our recent record of acquisitions, every one of them feels like a good fit to our overall strategy (which is, in my own words, to “provide a secure software platform to accelerate digital transformation by abstracting compute, network, storage and clouds”).

What I find interesting is that we sometimes tried to build similar or competing products but realized for various reasons that acquiring the start-up made more sense.

I won’t go back as far as Digital Fuel (that became vRealize Business) or Dynamic Ops (that became vCloud Automation Center and then vRealize Automation) but look at the past five years.

This URL on our official portal has not been updated for a few years but it lists some of the acquisitions we did a while back.

Let’s go:

  • Nicira abstracted physical networks and enabled us to create secure virtual networks on-demand and led to NSX.
    • When was it acquired? August 2012.
    • What is called today? NSX-T.
    • Did we try it ourselves? To some extent, we did with vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS). NSX for vSphere actually took pieces of Nicira and vCNS. Ivan Pepelnjak recently wrote a brief history of NSX.
  • Arkin Net enabled us to operationalize NSX at scale.
    • When was it acquired? June 2016.
    • What is called today? vRealize Network Insight (vRNI)
    • Did we try it ourselves? We had similar tools such as Application Discovery Manager but nothing that could provide such a great view of network topology and application dependency.
  • VeloCloud abstracted wide-area networks to reduce WAN costs and automate branch networking.
    • When was it acquired? November 2017.
    • What is called today? VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud
    • Did we try it ourselves? No, thankfully! The SD-WAN market was crowded and didn’t need another player.
  • CloudHealth gives us multi-cloud cost optimization.
    • When was it acquired? August 2018.
    • What is called today? CloudHealth by VMware
    • Did we try it ourselves? Some of the first VMware Cloud Services we launched were called “Discovery” and “Cost Insight”. But frankly, we were far too late to the market. We acquired CloudHealth which is the leader in cloud monitoring and cost optimization. This is probably the easiest sell in our portfolio – the savings our customers make almost immediately are pretty significant.
  • Bitnami gives us a multi-cloud app catalog.
    • When was it acquired? May 2019.
    • What is called today? Bitnami
    • Did we try it ourselves? Not really. We started a VMware Cloud Marketplace but we had a limited portfolio of applications. With Bitnami on board, our Marketplace now has a huge catalog of apps that accelerate the consumption of apps from our cloud platforms. For VMware Cloud on AWS customers, it will give us the equivalent to an AWS Marketplace.
  • Avi Networks gives us a multi-cloud Load-Balancer.
    • When was it acquired? June 2019.
    • What is called today? VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer.
    • Did we try it ourselves? We had and still have the NSX Load-Balancing, which was based on open-source load-balancers such as HAProxy… While it addresses many use cases, it’s nowhere near as good as AVI (especially from a monitoring/visibility and multi-cloud perspectives).
  • CloudVelox gives us multi-cloud portability. It enables customers to migrate and convert from non-vSphere hypervisors to vSphere hypervisors.
    • When was it acquired? February 2018.
    • What is called today? Integrated into HCX Enterprise.
    • Did we try it ourselves? Not really. We had tools such as vCenter Converter but with CloudVelox integrated with HCX, it really accelerates the migration of non-VMware workloads to the Cloud.
  • CloudCoreo gives us multi-cloud security. Its primary focus is on S3 buckets security and compliance.
    • When was it acquired? February 2018.
    • What is called today? Secure State. Integrated in CloudHealth.
    • Did we try it ourselves? Not really. It’s a niche market but a vital one and it fits very well with CloudHealth.
  • Veriflow gives us networking modelling and intent-based networking skills and technology.
    • When was it acquired? August 2019.
    • What will it be called? Its final name is still TBD but its functionality will be integrated into vRealize Network Insight (vRNI).
    • Did we try it ourselves? vRNI had some ‘What-If’ features but Veriflow will (I think) give us the ability to predict routing changes depending upon configuration change and will nicely complement what vRNI can already do today.
  • Intrisic gives us serverless security (for Node.js code).
    • When was it acquired? August 2019.
    • What is called today? Still TBD.
    • Did we try it ourselves? No, this is a brand new field for us but interesting. Essentially it applies the principle of ‘least-privilege’ (which we’ve had with NSX for many years) to serverless applications.
  • Carbon Black gives us an endpoint protection platform.
    • When was it acquired? August 2019.
    • What will it be called? Still TBD.
    • Did we try it ourselves? Not. We’ve actually been working with Carbon Black for a while (as it integrates with AppDefense) but we didn’t have a fully blown endpoint protection platform. Instead we would partner with the likes of McAfee and Symantec to provide agentless endpoint via NSX. Given what our COO recently said, it looks like we’re going in a different direction.
  • Pivotal gives us a developer platform.
    • When was it acquired? August 2019.
    • What will it be called? Still TBD.
    • Did we try it ourselves? Pivotal spun out of VMware and EMC in 2012 so we obviously have a shared history. We have partnered for many years (more recently around PKS) but VMware traditionally dealt with infrastructure folks unlike Pivotal who is more developer-focused.

But an acquisition isn’t just about products, it’s also about people and PLUMgrid and Bracket gave us our current NSX Business Unit CTO & SVP while Heptio brings the co-founders of Kubernetes onboard.

This is where I expect our next acquisitions to be (although obviously I have no idea what we’ll do ; I’m nowhere near important enough!).

  • Inter-Cloud Networking
  • Cloud Cost Consulting Services
  • Cloud Performance Monitoring
  • Serverless Monitoring
  • Application Monitoring

Will keep this post updated as we continue on our shopping spree…

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